Illuminations #25, Adar 5775, Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei

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Illuminations #25, Adar 5775, Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei

Torah Gems

וכל אשה חכמת לב בידיה טוו ויביאו מטוה את התכלת ואת הארגמן ואת תולעת השני ואת השש

Every wise-hearted woman spun with her hands; and they brought the spun yarn of the turquoise wool, and the purple wool, and the scarlet wool, and the linen 

The question asked is why are these women “wise-hearted” for spinning yarn? Furthermore, why did the Torah emphasize that the spinning was done with their hands—what other way could they have spun? The Torah is teaching us a lesson: when a mitzvah has to get done, there are two possible ways to get it done. For example, on Purim we are obligated to give out mishloach manot. A) We can go to the store and buy a pre-arranged basket, and why bother with the whole arranging and the ideas for putting it together, or B) we can be glad that a mitzvah has come our way and arrange the basket ourselves. The Torah is teaching us that these women were wise and they spun yarn with their hands to bring forth to the Mishkan, because they understood the value of the mitzvah and wanted to be part of every bit of doing it.

However, if we take a deeper look into the pasuk, the words בידיה טוו are translated, “With her hands they spun;” who is they? It is as though someone else spun too. The Meam Loez explains that every woman who cherished the mitzvah and began to spin with her hands had the help of Shamayim to finish.

The Midrash in Kohelet brings a story with רבי חנינא בן דוסא. One day he sees that all the people from his city were preparing to take their נדרים ונדבות to Jerusalem: everybody took whatever they can afford. However, he was very poor and couldn’t afford to donate anything to take up with him to Jerusalem. As he went out of his city he saw a large stone and he started to chisel it out and then to smooth it on all sides. When he was finished, he said, “I hereby am donating this stone to Jerusalem,” but how was he to transport this large stone? He began searching for some workers to carry it for him, and indeed he found some, but the price they asked was more than he had, so he began his search again. Sure enough he found five more men who were willing to take his stone up to Jerusalem and were willing to accept payment from him. After they arrived, however, they said, “You must put your hands on the stone to help us carry it.” So he did, and with the blink of an eye they were in Jerusalem; as he turned to pay them, they were nowhere to be found. He went to the judges and asked if they had seen any men who were asking for money and told them his story. The judges (sages) told him, “It seems that angels from heaven were sent to help you, as the pasuk in kohelet says: ראית איש מהיר במלאכתו לפני מלכים יתיצב if you’ve seen someone work fast he will stand before kings. The pasuk is saying if someone works fast to do a mitzvah without hesitation, even though it may be difficult, do not read the word מלכים kings rather מלאכים angels, angels will help you.” That is what the judges told רבי חנינא בן דוסא and the same was true with the wise-hearted women who were excited to do the mitzvah: they were helped from Shamayim and found their work completed for them.


Parsha Pearls

אלה פקודי המשכן משכן העדות אשר פקד על פי משה

These are the accountings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of the testimony which were counted at the word of Moshe.

Why does is specify “the word of Moshe?” The answer lies in the following story:

Once a goy approached רבי אליעזר and asked him three questions:

1) Why do you say that there will be a 3rd Bet Hamikdash: when the verse in Chagai says that the glory of the last Temple will be greater than the first, it seems as though only two Temples will be built?

2) Why does the Jewish nation say that they are closer to Hashem and that Hashem is removed from the goyim: usually those close to the king are happy, wealthy and healthy and you are none of the above, while the goyim are? It must be that goyim are closer to Hashem the king?

3) You say that the Jewish people only eat kosher meat to remain strong and healthy: look at you, who are small and weak as opposed to the goyim who are big and strong?

The goy finished his questions saying, “Don’t try to answer because nothing you’ll say will suffice for me”. רבי אליעזר got upset with the fire of Torah and when he looked at him, the goy turned into a pile of bones. When he calmed down he began to cry and said, “Hashem, these exact questions I asked before אליהו הנביא and he answered me the following:”

When the Jews were taken out of Egypt Hashem intended to take them directly to the land of Israel and build the Bet Hamikdash himself, as the pasuk in אז ישיר says:מקדש ה’ כוננו ידיך the Mikdash Hashem your hand will build, and that would have stood forever. When Bnei Yisrael sinned with the golden calf, they lost that opportunity and Shlomo built it. It was destroyed, and so was the 2nd Bet Hamikdash destroyed, because it was built by man, as it says in Tehillim אם ה’ לא יבנה בית שוא עמלו בוניו בו if Hashem will not build a house those building it are working for nothing for it will collapse. And as to the explanation to the pasuk in Chagai, it is referring to two Batei Mikdash that will be built in the times of Mashiach: one will be in the cloud and hidden from the eye of people and the 2nd will be seen by all, and the glory of the 2nd will be greater than the 1st because everyone will be able to see it. With this we can understand why the pasuk speaks out that the Mishkan was built by Moshe.

The 2nd & 3rd questions the goy asked are answered that truthfully we are closer to Hashem, but we are the heart of all nations, and we feel the pain of every ache like the heart. When the right foot is in pain, the left doesn’t feel, and vice versa. The heart, however, feels the pain both times: that is why we are in more pain than the goyim, who only feel their own pain and suffering. Eliyahu Hanavi continued: the same way the heart is very gentle, and the same way you watch what you eat to keep the heart functioning at its best, so too we need to eat kosher foods and the weakness is only because we are gentle like the heart. Just like all other limbs don’t need that special attention and can get strong and big and can enjoy all foods, the goyim are big and strong and can eat non-kosher products.

We can learn a great lesson from this answer. One watches his heart is in two ways: A) when it is healthy, he pays less attention to it and can run and exercise with no worries, and B) Hashem Yerachem lo alenu, when the heart is weak and slows down the running must stop and a person is careful and always watching his heart. Since we are the heart of the goyim it’s no wonder they are watching us all the time, however if we observe the Torah and mitzvot they will leave us alone, “the heart is well all is well,” but if we don’t observe the Torah and mitzvot then the goyim begin watching us closely and start “procedures” רחמנא ליצלן. Let’s all strengthen our Torah and Mitzvot and the goyim will surely leave us alone, Amen!

We should learn from this pasuk to put as much effort into doing all the mitzvot, and not to look for the easy way out or a possible shortcut.


Halacha Weekly

Q: Which is a better act to do in memory of a loved one: to write a Torah scroll in their name, or to establish a chesed institution or fund to help others in need?
A:  At first glance, it would appear more appropriate to write a Sefer Torah in their memory. This seems correct because writing a sefer Torah is a commandment from the Torah which applies to every Jew, while establishing a chesed fund is a mitzvah from the Rabbis only.  However, the bigger mitzvah would be to establish a chesed fund, for the following reasons:
1) Some say that you could perform the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah by buying seforim.
2) The mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah is a one-time occurrence. Once it is written, the mitzvah is done. However, by lending someone money, helping others with your money, or lending something other than money, every time the act is performed a mitzvah is performed.
For these reasons it is more preferable to establish a chesed fund in the memory of a loved one than it is to write a Sefer Torah.

In loving memory of Messod and David Benyamin ben Messodie.
By the Knafo Family